Italian/English Parallel Text: La sorpresa (A1)

.pdf ebook
Rated 4.72 out of 5 based on 76 customer ratings
(76 customer reviews)

Learn Italian with parallel texts: an original story in Italian with an accompanying English translation!

Amanda and Davide are a happy young couple, despite the fact they live in different cities. To celebrate their anniversary, Amanda decides to surprise Davide. But things don’t go the way she had planned…

  • .pdf e-book
  • original text in Italian / translation in English
  • 8 short chapters to read and study
  • Suitable for students at any level
  • Download your Free Sample Chapter (.pdf)

Delivery: you will receive an automatic email with a download link immediately after completing your order. The download link is valid for three downloads and expires after seven days (so save a copy of the .pdf!)

£7.99 £0.00


Learn Italian with parallel texts: an original story in Italian with an accompanying English translation!

Amanda and Davide are a happy young couple, despite the fact they live in different cities. To celebrate their anniversary, Amanda decides to surprise Davide. But things don’t go the way she had planned…

  • .pdf e-book
  • original text in Italian / translation in English
  • 8 short chapters to read and study
  • Suitable for students at any level
  • Download your Free Sample Chapter (.pdf)

Delivery: you will receive an automatic email with a download link immediately after completing your order. The download link is valid for three downloads and expires after seven days (so save a copy of the .pdf!)

Parallel Texts – How To View The Chapters Side-By-Side!

Viewing the chapters of your parallel text ebook side by side (so as to compare the different languages) is not hard, but probably won’t happen automatically.

There are a few simple, free things you’ll need to do first.

The file is a .pdf so will open with whatever the default .pdf reader on your device is.

These can vary and will probably NOT show the chapters side-by-side, as intended.

For this reason, we recommend the free Adobe Reader, which is installed on many computers in any case.

If you don’t have it, download it here (though I’d suggest un-checking the ‘Optional Offers’…)

Once you have Adobe Reader installed, this is what you do:

  1. Download the file
  2. Don’t just click on it or it will open in a browser, which probably works differently
  3. Instead, view it in your device’s downloads file
  4. Open with Adobe Reader (right click on the file, choose ‘Open with’, select Adobe Reader)
  5. In Adobe Reader…
  6. Look in the menu (at the top) for ‘View’, then choose ‘Page display’
  7. Choose ‘two page view’ (for the parallel text) or ‘single page view’ for normal documents
  8. Use ‘View’ / ‘Read mode’ to make the text larger or smaller so that it fits your screen
  9. Use the ‘zoom’ and ‘page up/down’ buttons to navigate through the book

Additional information


.pdf ebook

76 reviews for Italian/English Parallel Text: La sorpresa (A1)

  1. Rated 5 out of 5

    Oliver Frankel

    A cute little story. The second for me in this series. Definitely worth the effort and a great way of learning.

  2. Rated 5 out of 5

    Julie Garner (verified owner)

    A lovely read….perfect for my level.
    What’s not to like…it was FREE !!

  3. Rated 5 out of 5

    Pauline Vince (verified owner)

    Great introduction to a parallel text book. Good to be able to try one for free, thank you.

  4. Rated 5 out of 5

    Chris Hannen (verified owner)

    Perfect beginner level book. Easy to follow, engaging and informative.

  5. Rated 5 out of 5

    Eilis (verified owner)

    This was a good story for a beginner. Easy enough to get through but enough new words to feel like I learned something. It was a fun plot that kept me interested to the end too! Thanks!

  6. Rated 5 out of 5

    Jane Newman

    I read this book easily and it is well suited for a beginner. I found it very useful in learning and understanding word order. Reading it out loud helped me a lot to get the flow of this beautiful language. Nice little story too.
    It was also free 🙂 thank you.

    • easyreadersorg (verified owner)

      You’re very welcome. I’m happy to give something away for free, and very pleased that you took the trouble to say that you liked it.


  7. Rated 5 out of 5

    jana (verified owner)

    I liked it a lot. i am a beginner and regular texts such as websites and newspapers are still a bit confusing, so having a simple text I actually understand is great. Also i was curious how the story will end:-)

  8. Rated 5 out of 5

    Donald S. (verified owner)

    Thank you, thank, thank you! An absolutely great book for a beginner like me. I have tried other “easy” Italian readers before and gave up on them because of the difficulty with so many tenses of the verbs and hard colloquial phrases. I am definitely checking out what other resources that you have to help me improve my Italian language study.

  9. Rated 4 out of 5

    Alan (verified owner)

    Ended up not needing to refer to the English text, which was a nice surprise. I would have liked it to be a little longer as I finished it in probably 30 minutes.

  10. Rated 5 out of 5

    eacauckland (verified owner)

    A great book for my level of Italian. I had to look up a few words but understood most of it. A nice little story.

  11. Rated 5 out of 5

    Kara (verified owner)

    I got this book for free through an offer. It was a sweet, simple story, appropriate for beginner-level. Thank you for the offer!

  12. Rated 5 out of 5

    Mercedes (verified owner)

    A great little book. I downloaded it as it was gratuito and wanted to see how the parallel book system worked. A predictable text but with English translation there to assist with checking sentence construction. I highly recommend this book to anyone at level A1.

  13. Rated 5 out of 5


    Excellent easy reading

  14. Rated 4 out of 5

    Rumi Yamaguchi (verified owner)

    I found this book with English translation very nice. However, this text is easy for me to read and I did not need to use the English version.

    If possible, I would like you to issue some other books of a little higher level with English translation . Thank you very much!

    • easyreadersorg (verified owner)

      We have many other parallel texts and easy readers at levels up to B2, Rumi.

  15. Rated 5 out of 5

    crewpam (verified owner)

    First, thank you for providing La Sorpressa gratis.
    Simple story with predictable text that is ideal for a beginner reader in Italian. No recourse to the dictionary needed as the context assists working out unknown words. Pleasing to be able to read the story and understand it. I surprised myself as I didn’t need to use the English text to understand, however interesting to compare each text line by line to study the sentence structure.
    again Grazie mille

  16. Rated 5 out of 5

    Don (verified owner)

    It was too easy for me as I’ve read it without any help from the English version. Penso che potrei usar un livelo piu alto.

  17. Rated 5 out of 5


    I used the parallel text version for my students as a translation exercise. Excellent! And it saves me the time to translate it into English! Great job.

  18. Rated 4 out of 5

    David Hood (verified owner)

    A nice little story, with vocab and grammar appropriate for a beginner. Being able to cope with it was surprisingly rewarding so I’m trying some Easy Readers. Grazie !

  19. Rated 4 out of 5


    Ciao, La Sorpresa is easy to read. I was able to read it together with the English parallel translation. Is there also a sound track online so that one can listen to the text. Very interesting story. Grazie Joan

    • easyreadersorg (verified owner)

      Thanks for the review, Joan. The parallel texts have a translation instead of audio. However, if you look for the ‘easy reader’ with the same name, that one has the audio but no translation. The two versions may not be identical, but are broadly the same. The free sample chapter for the ‘easy reader’ version has a link to the online audio at the head of chapter 1.

  20. Rated 5 out of 5

    Janice (verified owner)

    A very well-written A-1 story. I have tried to read a number of books and articles that are labeled beginner, but find they have included grammar and vocabulary that is far beyond the beginner level. This short story is well within the range of a true beginner of Italian. The story itself is a bit predictable, but interesting nonetheless. It was definitely refreshing to be able to read the story without constantly having to research vocabulary or analyze complex tenses.

  21. Rated 4 out of 5

    chris (verified owner)

    I thought this was very good for my level, but for some reason I didn’t get the English translation, as it happened I didn’t need it.

    I also read La sorpresa which I thought stepped up the level well, and on this occasion i got the translation as well

    • easyreadersorg (verified owner)

      Thanks for the review, Chris. Of the two free texts for Italian, ‘Il ristorante’ (which I think is what you intended to review) is the easier.

      It’s an ‘easy reader’ and so does NOT have a translation but instead has comprehension questions and audio.

      The other, ‘La sorpresa’, is a parallel text – meaning that it comes with a line by line translation but nothing further.

      They are two different types of material intended for students who have different learning styles.

  22. Rated 4 out of 5

    Karolina (verified owner)

    It is a cute story, nice and easy to read. Now I want more to read.

  23. Rated 5 out of 5

    Bruce Tozer (verified owner)

    These short simple texts are very useful. If my Italian improves I’ll move to more challenging stories.

    • easyreadersorg (verified owner)

      I’m sure it will, Bruce. But why not plan out a reading program? A1 for a month, then A1/2 for another month, then A2 and so on. That way, you’ll be reading ‘real’ books before you know it!


  24. Rated 5 out of 5

    Frederick Russo (verified owner)

    Well done. It’s both informative and instructive. I would highly reccomend this series of books.

  25. Rated 5 out of 5

    Sylvia (verified owner)

    La Sorpresa is very easy to read. I have just started learning Italian but was able to read it together with the English parallel translation. There is also a sound track online so you can listen to the text. The story was also interesting.

  26. Rated 5 out of 5

    Lisa DeVries (verified owner)

    I am still a beginning student of Italian but I could read most of this book. It gave me some much needed confidence. I have read it twice and will wait a week or two and read it again to gauge my comprehension improvement. Mi piace! Is there an audio???

    • easyreadersorg (verified owner)

      Thanks for the review, Lisa.

      ‘Parallel texts’ like this one have the translation, but no audio. ‘Easy readers’ have audio but no translation. They’re two different formats, designed for two different learning approaches.

      So while the version you have reviewed has no audio, if you look for the ‘easy reader’, same language, same title – and download the free sample chapter – you’ll find a link to the free online audio for the whole story at the top of chapter 1.

      Hope that helps!


  27. Rated 4 out of 5

    Rhesa Janubas (verified owner)

    Good book. Gave me confidence in my Italian. The storyline is quite engaging too

  28. Rated 5 out of 5

    mkowens76 (verified owner)

    I have been learning Italian for three years by myself, so I have a mixed level. It can be very hard to find easier books to read. I am past this level, but thoroughly enjoyed reading something as smoothly as I would read in English. I believe I will read is several times looking at all the sentence structures. Every site, page, book, etc, has something to offer and I will profit from reading this well-done short work. Grazie!

  29. Rated 1 out of 5

    ajunef (verified owner)

    Not read

  30. Rated 5 out of 5

    Barry Edwards (verified owner)

    I now have a few of these easy readers and find them really helpful in improving my Italian. This was a nice easy read for me, and although I have the english translation I still listen to the audio on soundcard. I feel ready to progress to more advanced levels now and I have already purchased Columbus. Great readers, keep them coming.

  31. Rated 5 out of 5

    Jane (verified owner)

    Great little book with dual language text. Bite sized chapters allow you to get into the story without becoming overwhelmed if you are a beginner. For those a level above, the English version serves as a quick checkpoint for any unknown words and to check the differences in the structure of the phrases between the languages. The topic allows for suspense to build regarding how this story will end, which keeps interest. Very much enjoyed.

  32. Rated 5 out of 5

    Allison (verified owner)

    Being free, this is a good test with a nice storyline to gauge ease of reading and therefore level. I am currently studying at A2 and found this relatively easy but can also use it to learn the grammar and sentence structure rather than the need to translate words. Thanks.

  33. Rated 5 out of 5

    Frances Daniel (verified owner)

    La Sorpresa has given me some much needed confidence! I was able to understand the Italian without looking up any vocabulary. I am thinking now of seeing if I can translate some of the English portions back into Italian without looking at the Italian portion.
    This is a great story to read aloud as a way to practice pronunciation.

  34. Rated 5 out of 5

    alma.degraef (verified owner)

    I want to thank you for the nice suprise of this free book. Although i am not english i find it very amusing and well done.
    The italian text was very easy to understand.

  35. Rated 5 out of 5

    Gomati Sekhar (verified owner)

    Questo libro è molto semplice e divertente. Usa le parole che sappiamo ma che esitante usare. Anche la storia è interessante e ho finito leggere in un giorno. È buona pratica per la grammatica e per parlare. Ho letto ad alto voce e mi sono divertita. Spero di ci sono molti libri quegli interessanti da te. Grazie mille.

  36. Rated 5 out of 5

    William Carmichael (verified owner)

    Mi piace questo libro.
    È molto facile leggere.
    Ho pensato che forse la sorpresa sarebbe Davide ha una altra ragazza e Amanda sarebbe molto triste.
    Un finale molto infelice e triste!
    Ma Davide era della casa di Amanda con una cena e una torta.
    Bravo Davide! Che romantico!
    Un finale molto felice!
    Mi dispiace. Scusa il mio povero italiano. Io provo scrivere italiano ogni giorno.

  37. Rated 4 out of 5

    dick (verified owner)

    excellent reading for beginners. Surprising what you know and can learn just by reading.

  38. Rated 5 out of 5

    Angela (verified owner)

    I really enjoyed reading the story about Amanda and Davide (glad it was a happy ending). I found the story easy to understand and only had to look up a couple of words in the English chapter. I will re-read the story so that I can continue to practice my grammar. Thank you.

  39. Rated 5 out of 5

    alexas (verified owner)

    La sorpresa was simple to understand, not too long and kept me interested. It was a good story and helped to reinforce grammar and vocabulary learned recently.

  40. Rated 4 out of 5

    Dot Plank (verified owner)

    Very nice.. Easy to follow along , great to practice both hearing and reading Italian.
    thank you for your efforts to help us learn.

  41. Rated 5 out of 5

    Anna Marie C (verified owner)

    I am a beginner and I loved that I could check what I was reading in English. I was actually surprised at how much of the story I got correct. I still have alot to learn and if there wasn’t an English part to check I wouldn’t have been able to check what I didn’t understand.

  42. Rated 5 out of 5

    Anita (verified owner)

    Fun story……excellent way to practice grammar , ….. maybe learn a few new words and sharpen comprehension. I always enjoy the easy readers and La Sorpresa was no disappointment.

  43. Rated 5 out of 5

    Gosia (verified owner)

    Intresting and nice story. A perfect book for the beginner.

  44. Rated 5 out of 5

    Nancy Dunbar (verified owner)

    Authentic, level-appropriate Italian texts are hard to find, so I really treasure books like this. As it turned out, this book was perhaps a little too easy for me — I could read it pretty much straight through. But still, comparing the Italian and English constructions was quite interesting and the parallel text was helpful for understanding some new words. My only wish is that it were longer!!

  45. Rated 5 out of 5

    Wim Muylaert (verified owner)

    Very nice e-book for beginners, and I love the parallel text so you can even learn the words faster.

  46. Rated 5 out of 5

    Jane Singer

    It was a bit easy for me but enjoyed being able to read with interest without much effort. This is because the story retains your attention, even in simple language.

  47. Rated 5 out of 5

    Richard (verified owner)

    After being away from an interactive Italian language setting for a couple of years, my self study approach from an old classroom text was really losing steam. But after two days in a row of reading from the A1 Italian readers, I realized that beyond seeing what vocabulary I did and didn’t know, I realized I was intuiting the meaning of words I had not encountered before simply through the context of the story. There was a real feeling that the words and phrases that were new would stick. That part of the brain that has a natural desire to communicate was activated again (which is really many parts of the brain at once). That becomes the impetus. In contrast to pushing through vocabulary lists and conjugations, any new words or old forgottens have natural relevance and are either unearthed and reactivated or integrated into memory. Bravo!

  48. Rated 5 out of 5

    Elspeth Wardrop (verified owner)

    Ideal reading practice – it encourages guessing the end and reading to confirm.

  49. Rated 4 out of 5

    Kenneth Lever (verified owner)

    A good simple story and the parallel text allows you to check your understanding without using a dictionary. The right sort of length to retain interest. For me it would also be helpful to have the audio.

  50. Rated 5 out of 5

    lori.laposta (verified owner)

    How fun and rewarding it is to read a book in Italian with interesting content. I found myself not wanting to put it down. I realized after reading reviews by others that many conjectured accurately what the ending was to be, but I had a more mischevious twist to the story in my expectation and was pleasantly surprised at the happy ending! Thank you for continuing to make reading and learning Italian enjoyable!

  51. Rated 5 out of 5

    Francesca Kelly (verified owner)

    Five stars!

  52. Rated 5 out of 5

    Judith O’Loughlin (verified owner)

    I enjoyed reading the book but found the level too easy. I’ll have to try one of the more challenging ones as I think the concept is great. Thanks for the opportunity to try it for free.

  53. Rated 5 out of 5

    Ileana Ramallo Rosset (verified owner)

    Easy to read . Good for the beginners . Thanks

  54. Rated 5 out of 5

    Karen Dhaliwal (verified owner)

    Another easily read book. Having the English text available allowed one to easily check the odd unfamiliar word.

  55. Rated 4 out of 5

    Andrew gardiner (verified owner)

    Interesting colourful early reader . A good stimulus for my Italian journey.

  56. Rated 5 out of 5

    rosiew0707 (verified owner)

    An enjoyable story, particularly because it was easy to read and managed to introduce unfamiliar words which one could understand from their context, so you did not loose the flow.
    Rosie Wells

  57. Rated 3 out of 5

    Rose Ferreri (verified owner)

    Cute story. Easy to understand. But too short. Expected more text.

  58. Rated 5 out of 5

    Giovanni (verified owner)

    Excellent. Not too difficult and contains some useful phrases.

  59. Rated 5 out of 5

    Jim K (verified owner)

    A fun read and while the story’s end was not a surprise I think that actually helps with understanding new things. Since you can anticipate a little bit what is being said so that when new words or verb tenses arise you and work through them.

  60. Rated 4 out of 5

    Anne (verified owner)

    I found the parallel text good for looking up vocabulary words but not all that helpful in general. Because the syntax and sentence structure are different, it was better to get used to the way they are in Italian than to refer back to the English.

    As far as the story goes, it was no surprise at all–the ending was telegraphed from the beginning.

  61. Rated 5 out of 5

    Zsuzsanna Snarey (verified owner)

    I have been helped to find the audio by Daniel. I looked at the sample chapter of the same story as the parallel text in the shop and there is a link to SoundCloud. You need the app before being able to listen but then it is straightforward.

  62. Rated 5 out of 5

    belljennie (verified owner)

    This, my second Italian reader, is a better story than Il Ristorante, with more complication to it. It was more engaging and challenging. I will need to read it several times to understand more easily, and this idea is very pleasing.

  63. Rated 5 out of 5

    Anna Mitchell (verified owner)

    Very good indeed. Easy to read. I highlight in different colours the words and phrases to learn.
    Hopefully it will help me with sentence structure, which I find so difficult. Many thanks.

  64. Rated 4 out of 5

    Joanne Horsley

    Great very helpful for my study.

  65. Rated 5 out of 5

    Juliet (verified owner)

    My first experience of parallel text and I find it really helpful. Getting La Sorpressa for free was such a delight! This reading has given my confidence a great boost. many thanks!

  66. Rated 5 out of 5

    rosiew0707 (verified owner)

    I really enjoyed reading this story , probably because it was so easy that I didn’t have to keep looking words up, and so could think more about the sentence construction. Interesting to see someone has managed to pay with amazon as I have found this impossible and did not really want to use pay pal. A friend signed me in as a guest but I’m pretty sure that order has not gone through either!

  67. Rated 5 out of 5

    KATERINA ALVERATSIDOU (verified owner)

    All books are good books especially when you are learning a new language. it helped me to feel good with myself and confident with my study. thanks a lot!!!

  68. Rated 5 out of 5

    Jane (verified owner)

    This was my first parallel text book. I like the format but I realized that my reading comprehension is way better than my listening comprehension. There were only a few sentences that I had to check the English to make sure I understood. The story was suspenseful and kept my interest. I would go up a level or two on my my next one. I am excited to read the other easy readers I purchased. Also, It was great to use my amazon account to pay since I wasn’t sure about buying with a different currency. I found the downloads easy and I opened them in ibooks using my ipad. I am glad I found the online Italian Club! Grazie!

  69. Rated 5 out of 5

    Zsuzsanna Snarey (verified owner)

    I enjoyed reading La sorpresa. It was easy to understand even without looking at the parallel text. I could guess the words I didn’t know. But I would have liked to listen to the story as well. I love the sound of Italian and would like to speak it well.

  70. Rated 5 out of 5

    Zsuzsanna Snarey (verified owner)

    I enjoyed reading La sorpresa. It was easy to understand and even without the parallel text it was possible to guess the words I did not know. I would like to listen to the story but I am not sure how. I love the sound of the Italian language and would like to be able to speak it well.

  71. Rated 4 out of 5

    jrkibby (verified owner)

    As others have observed, this is a very quick and easy read and thus quite good for both ego and confidence-boosting purposes. I didn’t need the assistance of the parallel text, but for a total beginner, it seems it would have been very helpful because of its user-friendly layout. Personally, however, I find the easy readers with their audio recordings more beneficial than the dual-language texts, but that’s just my preference. Perhaps the perfect blend would be to have both the Italian language audio and the English translation for the same book — whoever said you can’t please all the people all the time?!?!

  72. Rated 5 out of 5

    Caroline (verified owner)

    An easy read, great to have the parallel text. A good way to develop language skills. Would like to read more of these books.

  73. Rated 5 out of 5

    Valerie Power (verified owner)

    La Sorpresa was an easy read. I finished it very quickly so I am confident that I can read more of these books, maybe even a higher level. I am very pleased with myself! 😊

  74. Rated 5 out of 5

    Lynne F (verified owner)

    So proud of myself I read the whole book ,only a couple of words that I didn’t know. I tried to work them out in context before reading the English text. Reading Italian really helps me with Italian sentence structure , so different to English!

  75. Rated 4 out of 5

    Susie (verified owner)

    It was good to read and the parallel text made it even better for improving my Italian. I agree it is good for the ego, when one can pretty well understand all of it. Great for general revision of words and phrases already learned.

  76. Rated 5 out of 5

    Frank Baratta

    La Sorpresa is a very nice reader for the beginner. It is an easy reader that is good for practicing reading and listening skills. The book keeps your interest up because there is some suspense as to how the story will develop and end. The interest level helps the student to stay with the reading while the easy text is good for the ego.

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